"There's one message to North Korea: the USA is not looking for a fight..."
On Monday, Pence traveled to the tense Demilitarized Zone dividing North and South Korea, where he warned North Korea's leaders that after years of testing the us and South Korea with its nuclear ambitions, "the era of strategic patience is over".
In particular, between Trump's early calls for strategic partners such Japan and South Korea to cover more of the costs of supporting US troops on their shores, his decision to withdraw the United States from the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership, and his administration's recent statements and actions in response to North Korea's nuclear weapons program, Trump has helped put the typically slow-moving and carefully managed geopolitics of the Asia-Pacific in flux.
The prime minister denied he was over-estimating the influence of Beijing on the Kim Jong Un - having discussed the issue of North Korean aggression with Chinese officials for years.
"We appreciate the challenging times in which the people of Japan live with increasing provocations from across the Sea of Japan", Pence said after arriving from Seoul for talks with Abe.
North Korea's deputy United Nations ambassador Kim In Ryong told a news conference that "if the U.S. dares opt for a military action", North Korea "is ready to react to any mode of war desired by the US".
He told the BBC: "We'll be conducting more missile tests on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis".
In fact, the communist country vowed to continue testing its missiles and expressed its readiness for an "all-out-war" in the event of US military aggression.
After a military parade Saturday to mark the "Day of the Sun", North Korea attempted - and failed - to launch what appeared to be a mid-range missile.
After 25 years of trying to deal patiently with North Korea's nuclear and missile ambitions, Pence said, "all options are on the table" to deal with threat.
Pence pointed to Trump's recent strikes on a Syrian airbase and an Islamic State complex in Afghanistan as a warning to Pyongyang not to underestimate the administration's resolve.
Mr Trump has ordered aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson and several warships to the area to highlight American concern at the situation, as China expressed fears war could erupt "at any moment".
Abe said Japan hoped for peaceful dialogue with Pyongyang, "but at the same time, dialogue for the sake of dialogue is valueless and it is necessary for us to exercise pressure North Korea so that it comes forward and engages in this serious dialogue".
White House officials said the economic meetings in Tokyo, with Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso and other officials, are meant to forge a framework for future discussions after the US withdrew from a Pacific Rim trade pact. He said the American commitment to South Korea is "iron-clad and immutable".
"We need to apply pressure on North Korea so they seriously respond to a dialogue" with the worldwide community, he said, urging China and Russian Federation to play more constructive roles on the issue. The paper also said North Korea would "wipe out" US forces. Last week Trump warned darkly that if his China outreach fails, the North "will be taken care of" by the United States and its allies.